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This dusty market town is an important trade and administrative centre in the southern state of Andhra Pradesh. From 1950-1956 it even served as the capital of the region, just before the state of Andhra Pradesh was formally created. The history of the town dates back to 1620 when Abdul Wahad Khan, commander of the Bijapur forces captured it. It rose to further prominence when it passed to Mughal and then Asaf Jahi rule, although the region around the city was really controlled by a local family of chiefs, Khans, who lasted until the British took control of Kurnool in the 19th century.

Abdul Wahad Khan's Tomb
A spacious funerary complex at the east of the city contains the early 17th century tomb of Abdul Wahad Khan. This well-preserved monument is in the style of the tombs of Bijapur. Although smaller than the Bijapur tombs, it is well finished, and points to the wealth and importance of its patron. The tomb chamber is surrounded by a passage that has arched openings. At the top of the walls is a wide cornice and above this rises a battlemented parapet that has high, domed finials at the corners.

Tomb: Dome
The central dome rises on a high circular drum that has a band of decoration at the top, above which rise a row of high petals. There are four high finials adjacent to the dome.

Tomb: Finial
The finials themselves are on an ornate base. A band of vegetal scrollwork frames an arch on each side. At the corners are miniature pilasters. Above this is a parapet formed of bulbous patterns. A miniature dome rises from this on its own band of petals.

Tomb: Brackets
A series of crisply carved brackets each with two inverted bud motifs support the sharply sloping cornice.

Adjacent Tomb
This smaller tomb is adjacent to Abdul Wahad's. It has similar similar features, but on a smaller and less artistic level. The central arch shown here frames a rectangular window with a jali frieze.

Photos and Text © Amit Guha